A committee formed in 2016 to “study evolution of Indian culture from 12,000 years ago” did not submit any report to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the government body said in a Right to Information (RTI) reply recently.
Asked about the formation of the committee and its findings, the ASI said on October 11 in response to a RTI query by The Hindu: “Yes, a committee has been formed to study evolution of Indian culture from 12,000 years ago which was approved on 31.10.2016 for a period of one year. The committee had not submitted any report to the ASI.”
When asked about the committee in the Lok Sabha on September 14, 2020, the then Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel confirmed that an expert panel had been set up for the “holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years ago”.
‘Lack of diversity’
At the time, DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had raised the lack of diversity on the panel, calling for scholars from southern States to be included.
Sources in the Culture Ministry said in September last year that the first committee’s tenure had lapsed without a report, so it would be re-constituted with a wider selection of experts.
On July 17, Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy told the Lok Sabha that, “It has been decided to reconstitute the committee. While reconstituting the committee, all the suggestions on diversity in membership would be given due consideration.”
The ASI, however, did not mention the existence of the re-constituted panel, despite being asked about it in the RTI query. A government source said the panel had first been formed to rewrite certain aspects of ancient Indian history. However, after holding two meetings in its year-long term, the panel did not submit its report.